Asteya, or nonstealing, calls us to live with integrity. The creative ways in which we steal are without limit. We steal from the future every time we compromise the present. We steal from the planet, others, and ourselves. We even steal from our own chance to grow ourselves into a person who has the right to have the life they want.
All demands and expectations that we place on ourselves steal from the unfolding our own uniqueness. Self-sabotage, personal doubt, low self-esteem, judgments, criticisms, and demands for perfection are various ways of stealing vitality from ourselves.
Additionally, we are captured by a culture where our identity is “linked in” to our accomplishments. It’s a fast paced life that depends on comparative thinking, leaving no time for ourselves. We’re consuming more information than we can digest and it’s making us sick and tired. We need time to just be in the present moment with no agenda and no where to go.
This precept asks us to get excited about the possibilities for our own life. When we attend to our own growth and learning in the area of our interests, we are engaged in the joy and challenge of building ourselves. From the fullness of our own talent and skill, we find ourselves living in service to the world.
Bottom line: If we want something, we need to grow the competency to have and keep it. Anything else is stealing.
The fourth guideline in Patanjali’s sutras is nonexcess.
Beams of gratitude to Deborah Adele for her wisdom and inspiration.